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December 30, 1999

Governor Asks Vice President Gore To Intervene To Protect Illinois' Ethanol Industry

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today called on Vice President Al Gore to intervene and delay the U.S. EPA's implementation of the next phase of the Federal Reformulated Gasoline Program (RFG). RFG is a national clean air initiative of vital importance to Illinois' ethanol industry.

The federal Clean Air Act requires certain types of "cleaner burning" motor fuels be sold in certain areas that fail to meet ozone safety standards. Illinois has two ozone non-attainment areas -- the Chicago metropolitan area and the Metro-East area.

Phase II of the of the RFG Program is scheduled to begin January 1, 2000. Under provisions in the current RFG law, ethanol will no longer meet the pressure requirements for continued use during the summer months. Under Phase I, nearly 100 percent of the gasoline sold in the Chicago non-attainment area contained 10 percent blends of ethanol.

"Chicago is the nation's top RFG market and the foundation of the domestic ethanol industry," Ryan said. "If ethanol cannot be used year-round under Phase II of the RFG Program, Illinois could lose up to 400 million gallons of ethanol demand annually which translates to a yearly loss of nearly $13 million for Illinois farmers. It is essential that ethanol be allowed to continue to compete in the summertime RFG market to improve air quality, protect water supplies, preserve agriculture from further economic losses and prevent fuel price fluctuations for the consumer."

Ethanol blended gasoline also reduces carbon monoxide emissions in the Chicago metropolitan area by 780 tons per day.

Ryan cited a delay in a carbon monoxide credit-based proposed rule, the uncertainty of the amount of the credit to be given and the concern over MTBE moving into the Midwestern markets in his request to push back the implementation date of Phase II RFG.

"Despite a full year of studies and negotiations, no resolution has been reached concerning ethanol's role in Phase II RFG Program," Ryan added. "I have requested a delay in the implementation of the Phase II summertime program until these issues are resolved."


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